Tagged: Rangers

MARCH MADNESS AND OTHER STUFF

The Cubs have begun to make cuts this week and the team is beginning to take shape.  We still have some battles going on for the starting rotation and bullpen along with bench player spots for the hitters.  We have two weeks to figure out who’s gonna stay and play and who’s being sent down or released.  

I was reading about trade rumors involving Chris Davis and to my disappointment the Cubs do not seem to be one of the teams interested in him right now.  I still say he would be a great power bat off the bench capable of playing both corner infield positions.  
Carlos Silva has been scouted by a few teams this spring.  For his sake, I hope he does get traded to a team that will allow him to start.  I don’t see him as a starter for the Cubs this year.  One idea I read about was Silva for Oliver Perez of the Mets.  I like that idea.  Perez would be a free agent after the season and he is a lefty.  We could use him in the bullpen and hopefully a fresh start with a new team would benefit him.  
I really like a lot of the talented young players the Cubs sent to their minor league camp this week.  Pitchers like Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt and Chris Carpenter along with hitters Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.  I think our minor league teams in Iowa and Tennessee will have good seasons with these players.  I think our starting pitching rotation at Iowa this year looks strong and I expect several of these guys to be pitching for the big league club soon.  
Finally, it’s March Madness and I’m excited.  I’ve filled out my brackets and I have the Kansas Jayhawks winning it all.  For the record, I filled out my picks before the President made his.  It just so happens he and I finally agree on something!  

JUST RANDOM THOUGHTS

The Chicago Cubs appear to content with the lineup we currently have.  I was kind of hoping we would trade Fukudome, but that does not seem like it will happen.  I was also a little bit interested in Michael Young to play second over the platoon of Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker, but that is not going to happen either.  Another possible “solution” for second would be Luis Castillo if the Mets were willing to part with him.  Personally, I don’t like this idea at all.  The one move I still think the Cubs could make is acquiring Chris Davis from the Rangers.  I think it would take catcher Wellington Castillo and another high minor league player.  

I keep reading that teams are scouting Carlos Silva and Braden Looper.  I would love to see with us part with Silva no doubt.  However, I am curious to see what Looper could bring to the team this season.  
Matt Garza pitched four solid innings in his last outing which has me excited.  I think our starting five will be Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner.  However, Braden Looper is making a strong case to make the rotation.  The downside of this rotation is that we do not have a lefty in there.  Ted Lilly was a great competitor during his time with the Cubs and he will be missed. Our bullpen is looking good too in my opinion.  Marshall, Wood and Marmol will anchor the pen and hopefully Samardzija and a healthy Grabow will be able to help out as well.
Scott Moore is making a good impression this spring and while I don’t think he will make the team, I believe he would be a great mid-season call up if someone were to get injured.  However, I would rather have Chris Davis as our corner infielder.  No offense to Moore, but I’ve been fixated a bit on Davis this off-season.  
That’s all I have for today.  It’s supposed to be in the 60s tomorrow and in the 70s on Thursday here in southern Illinois.  I hope the weatherman is right!

ALBERT PUJOLS

I know everyone in the world has an opinion on Albert Pujols and his contract situation with the Cardinals.  Will he sign with the Cards, how much money and how many years seem to dominate the baseball news everyday.  I have no problem with that because I want to know too.  So, I have a couple of scenarios regarding Albert and his next contract.  Hope you enjoy.

Scenario 1

Albert signs with St. Louis and Red Bird nation breathes a huge sigh of relief.  He gets 7 years guaranteed at $28 million per year with a player option for an 8th year and a club option for a 9th year.  This allows the Cards to be the favorite in the NL Central for another few years.  However, the Cards may face some problems long term with this contract.  The Cards already signed Matt Holliday for $17 million a year through 2016 and a team option for 2017 at the same price .  Adam Wainwright has a $9 million team option for 2012 and $12 million team option for 2013.  Wainwright will be a free agent after the 2013 season unless things change between now and then.  Chris Carpenter has a $15 million team option for 2012 and will be a free agent after that season.  Fortunately, they have young players in Colby Rasmus, Jaime Garcia and David Freese that will help offset the salaries of the Cards’ “Big 4”.  At least until 2015.  That’s the earliest year that Rasmus and Garcia can become free agents.  So, I think the Cards will do great in the first few years of Albert’s contract, but it may hamper them financially in 2015 and beyond.  I know resigning Wainwright won’t be cheap.  He’s a great pitcher and a legitimate ace.  If Rasmus, Garcia and Freese all continue to improve they should get substantial raises through arbitration or contract extensions.  However, the Cards suffer more, in my opinion, by not signing Albert. 

Scenario 2

The Cards don’t get a deal done with Albert this spring.  He hits the free agent market and the bidding goes crazy!  Eventually, he agrees to sign with the Cards for $30 million a year for 10 years.  The Cards try to defer some of the contract, but it’s such a large deal that it still hampers them finacially beyond 2015 .  I don’t see the Cardinals brass caving in to 10 years and $30 million.

Scenario 3

Pujols decides to give the Cardinals a break and sign for 7 years at $27.5 million a year.  This is the best case scenario for the Cards.  I can see this happening if the Cards work out some sort of vesting options for an additional 3 years potentially making it a 10 year contract.  I can see something like Pujols having to play in a minumum number of games each year or driving in a certain number runs in order to guarantee years 8-10.  If the Cards pull this off I think they will benefit greatly!

Scenario 4

The Cub scenario!  The Cubs sign him for 10 years at $30 million a year.  The ONLY way this would work for the Cubs, in my opinion, is to front load the deal.  Ramirez, Silva, Fukudome and Pena are all free agents after this season (Ramirez and Silva each have options for next year with buyouts).  That would free up around $40 million dollars for next season.  That’s a lot of money to be used on Pujols.  Soriano will become a free agent in 2015 clearing up another $18 million a year.  Carlos Zambrano will become a free agent in 2013 or 2014.  He has a vesting option for 2014 at $19.25 million.  So between Soriano and Zambrano the Cubs have over $35 million coming off the books soon.  I think the Cubs could make this work financially if we spend our money wisely.  We have one of the largest payrolls in baseball and I know we could afford Pujols.  The real question is, Do we want to?  Do we really want to spend that type of money on the best hitter in the game who will be aging for the majority of his contract?  Do we want to risk another Soriano type of contract?  Do we want to add fuel to the fire in the Cubs/Cards rivalry?  I don’t know!  I do know this.  I would like to see what Albert could do offensively playing 81 home games at Wrigley Field.  But I don’t know if I would be willing to pay the price.

I know there will be a lot of teams willing to make an offer to Albert if he doesn’t sign with the Cards.  The Angels, Cubs, Rangers and Nationals are the teams I have as frontrunners, outside of the Cardinals, to make a serious run at Pujols if he does become a free agent.  Yet, I consider myself a baseball purist.  And as a baseball purist I want to see Albert play his entire career in St. Louis.  I also want the Cubs to beat the Cards with Albert still wearing a Cardinals jersey.  That would be just fine with me.

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

I am still having trouble with my internet provider which is beginning to tick me off.  I live out in the country and have limited options for “high-speed” internet without having to spend over $80 a month for service.  It sucks!!!!  So, while I have been able to read other blogs, I have not been able to post comments, nor have I had much success at writing posts myself.  I started a couple only to lose them after not being able to stay connected.  Anyway, enough crying about that. 

The Cubs look like they are going to sign Carlos Marmol to a 3 year extension from what I’ve read.  Great move!  The guy hasn’t been a pitcher that long and continues to get better every year.  Let’s hope this continues. 

Pitchers and Catchers are close to reporting, but several Cubs are already in Arizona.  Jeff Samardzija has been there for a while now and I am expecting a great spring from him.  I anticipate he will make a strong case to be in the rotation for the Cubs in 2011. 

I always like to think of trade ideas for the Cubs along with potential free agent signings.  I’ve already mentioned several times in other posts that we should trade for Chris Davis, Darren O’Day and possibly Michael Young from the Rangers.  I still want us to get Davis and O’Day, but I have a few knew trade ideas.

First player I have in mind is Justin Upton of the D’Backs.  This kid, he’s young folks, is a good player that oozes talent when he sweats.  I would love to see him added to our outfield of the future. 

Another player I would like to get is Kevin Kouzmanoff.  He’s got a great glove and I believe his bat would play well in Wrigley Field.  I know Aramis is getting older and I’m not sold on Josh Vitters as our future at third at this point.  I must point out though, that I am hopeful that Vitters turns the corner this season and breaks out with his bat. 

I wanted us to trade for Adrian Gonzalez this winter, but the Red Sox beat us out.  I guess we can sign Albert if he miraculously doesn’t stay with the redbirds.  While I am trying to be optimistic about the Carlos Pena signing this offseason I am also thinking of ways to upgrade for 2012. 

Finally, it’s almost Valentine’s Day.  I’m not big into holidays like this.  I don’t get holiday pay or off work and I end up having to spend a bunch of money on flowers and such.  Not that I mind it.  My wife is great!  But even before I met my wife, I’ve never been fond of this holiday.  The middle of February has always been about pitchers and catchers reporting!  That should be a holiday!!!!

MORE RAMBLINGS

The fact that Michael Young wants to be traded is no surprise to me.  He’s been a good team player in Texas, but I think he’s finally decided that enough is enough.  With the signing of Beltre he’s now requested a trade.  I would love to have him on the Cubs to play 2B this year, but I know it’s probably not going to happen.  Instead, I’ve read that the Rangers have been talking with the Rockies about a trade.  I also read that there are 8 teams Young would consider being traded to.  One of those teams is the Cards.  That would be a huge move for the Cardinals and really strengthen their lineup even more.  I hope they are too focused on Pujol’s deal to make such a trade.

Cubs are supposedly still working on a long term deal with Carlos Marmol.  I hope they get it done soon.  From my understanding, he will have to have a physical before reaching a deal with the Cubs.  Remember, Marmol started his career as a catcher and has only been pitching professionally since 2003.  That leads me to believe that he will continue to get better. 

Yahoo fantasy baseball is suppose to open some time today.  I’m looking forward to it.  It’s another indicator that spring is almost here.

With pitchers and catchers reporting soon it means the Cubs competition for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation will truly begin.  The contenders will be Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman and James Russell.  Russell is the only left hander in this group and that could give him an extra edge.  However, I see Russell having more of a role similar to what Sean Marshall had in 2008 and 2009.  I think Wells and Silva will get first shots being veterans.  Cashner, Samardzija and Coleman will have to pitch really well in the spring to win a spot in the rotation.  If they don’t, I would like to see them sent to triple A as starters rather than trying to convert them into relievers.

Finally, I walked into the local Target store over the weekend.  They had a whole aisle dedicated to the St. Louis Cardinals.  Hats, jerseys, shirts, shorts, baby clothes, sports bottles and much, much more.  Unfortunately, they did not have one Cub item.  That’s okay though.  I have plenty of Cub gear to wear. 

 

A LITTLE CATCHING UP

My internet hasn’t worked right the last few days so, I haven’t been able to write any posts.  I guess I can blame it on the winter weather the midwest has experienced.  I didn’t even call my internet provider because I know they would probably give me some lame excuse.  Anyway, here’s a few thoughts I’ve had the last couple of days.

The Rangers are shopping Michael Young to the Rockies.  Why in the world won’t the Cubs make an offer?!  We could package Soriano, Jeff Baker or Blake DeWitt and Wellington Castillo for Michael Young, Chris Davis and Darren O’Day.  Soriano and Young each have bad contracts.  The Cubs would probably have to eat around $9 million of his contract during the final year of his deal, but it would be worth it to me.  It’s just a thought.

Blake DeWitt.  I read that Greg Maddux had a role in the Cubs acquiring DeWitt.  So, while I have been skeptical of DeWitt, I am willing to give him more of a chance.  I trust Maddux’s judgement.  I hope he’s right.

Carlos Marmol and the Cubs are working on a multiyear extension that will give our closer a substantial raise and avoid any more arbitration years.  I think we should do the same thing with Matt Garza and get both players locked up so we don’t have to go through this again with either of them any time soon. 

Aramis Ramirez is getting older as is probably playing for a contract this year.  (I don’t see the Cubs picking up his option for 2012)  I wonder if the Cubs will try to sign him to a multiyear deal after the season or will we let him walk?  Should we let him walk and hope Josh Vitters can replace him?  I think this summer will give us a better clue on what to do.

I’ve got more, but I wanted to get this post in before my internet stops working again.  I will leave with this thought……..WHY HAVEN’T THE CARDS SIGNED PUJOLS YET?  HE’S THE BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!

 

CUBS UPDATES AND OTHER STUFF

Well, the offseason is almost over.  Several teams are still trying to finalize their 40 man roster and non-roster invitees to spring training.  There’s also been some trades going down.  That’s what I love about the offseason…..the level of activity. 

Let me start with Mike Napoli first.  The Angels traded him in a deal to get Vernon Wells.  I think I am in the minority, but I like this deal for both teams involved.  Then the Blue Jays trade him to the Rangers.  I like this move for the Rangers a lot.  Napoli has good power and should produce offensively in Texas if given the playing time. 

Rickie Weeks and Albert Pujols have not signed contract extensions yet.  I think both players would look good in a Cub uniform in 2012.  Before my Cardinal friends start hating on me for saying that about Pujols, remember, I love the guy and who wouldn’t want him on their team.  But I still believe he will be a lifelong Cardinal and he will sign a deal soon.  Weeks on the other hand, I’m not certain the Brewers will keep him.

The Cubs signed two Cuban players this past week.  I don’t know too much about either of them, but one player, Ruby Silva signed for $1.2 million.  I would think by the amount of money he’s getting that he has some talent.  He’s an outfielder capable of playing middle infield while the other player, Yanel Cabezas is a catcher and signed for $500K. 

The Cubs, like other teams, have signed some guys to bring in to spring training.  They include Braden Looper, Augie Ojeda and Luis Montanez.  I don’t expect much from this group.  Montanez and Ojeda have played in the Cubs system in the past, but I don’t think either will make the team and I’m not sure any of the three I just mentioned will even be on one of our minor league affiliates. 

It’s almost February and we all know what that means!!!!!!!!!!